Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2014
The goal of this webpage is to help Virginia residents understand long term care costs in the state including assisted living, in-home, Alzheimer's and adult day care. It is also to make them aware of the financial assistance programs that help pay for care and options that can reduce the cost of care, prescription drugs and home medical equipment.
In 2014, the average monthly cost of assisted living in Virginia is $3,990. This works out to an annual cost of almost $48,000. There are certain areas of the state where the cost is considerably lower, most notably Harrisonburg and Roanoke where the average annual costs are $5,000 - $7,500 less. Residents of Richmond, Waynesboro and Charlottesville should be aware of the fact that they live in the most expensive areas for assisted living. In these areas, the average costs can reach $50,000 and even $55,000. Assisted living costs in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Blacksburg are right around the state average.
Alzheimer's care in assisted living is more costly. The behavioral changes which occur at the later stages of the condition result in increased security and supervisory needs. Statewide, caring for an individual with Alzheimer's in an assisted living residence costs an additional $10,000 - $12,000 per year.
Home care costs, like assisted living, fluctuate considerably based on one's geographic location throughout Virginia. The average, statewide, hourly cost in 2014 is $18. Staunton, Lynchburg and Blacksburg see costs closer to $17 / hr, while Charlottesville and Winchester are between $20 - $21 / hr. It is worth noting that these costs are for non-medical home care. Care in the home, provided by medically trained professionals will cost several dollars more per hour.
Statewide, the average daily cost of adult day care is $61. Unfortunately in some rural areas of the state, adult day care services are not available.
Virginia has two relevant programs; the Adult Services Program and the Auxiliary Grant. Adult Services is a program intended to help frail elderly persons remain living in their homes. It achieves this by providing a variety of supports such as chore services, shopping and housekeeping which individuals may have difficulty performing for themselves. Learn more about Virginia Adult Services.
The Auxiliary Grant program shares a goal with the Adult Services program, which is to reduce nursing home placements. However, this program does not support individuals at home, rather it provides a cash grant to help them pay for the fees associated with assisted living or adult foster care. Read more.
Medicaid is a health insurance program intended for lower income Americans. The federal government sets certain guidelines for the program and within those guidelines, the states are free to manage the program as they see best for their residents. Each state has different types of Medicaid programs, some for families, some for children and others specifically for the elderly or those requiring long term care. For purposes of relevance, we will focus on Long Term Care Medicaid.
Long Term Care Medicaid is sometimes called Institutional Medicaid implying that the program will only cover the cost of nursing home care. This may once have been an accurate perception, but today in Virginia it is no longer the case. Long Term Care Medicaid offers waivers, which are programs that provide services outside of nursing homes. Virginia has three relevant waivers.
1)The Alzheimer's Assisted Living Waiver helps individuals with dementia, Alzheimer's or other related conditions to reside in assisted living communities.
2) The Elderly or Disabled Waiver with Consumer Direction provides services to individuals in their homes to help them remain living in their homes.
3) The Technology Assisted Waiver helps technology dependent individuals remain living in their homes. In addition to care services, it will help to pay for environmental (home) modifications to accommodate for a disability or chronic condition.
In addition to the functional need, Medicaid evaluates senior candidates based on their income and assets. In 2014, the monthly income limit for full Medicaid is approximately $750. However, partial assistance from Medicaid is available for those with monthly incomes up to $2,163. The asset limit is $2,000 but this excludes the value of a home, vehicle and certain other personal effects. Persons near or over these limits and married couples may want to consult with a Medicaid Planning Professional prior to application.
In addition to the state specific options that help pay for care, there are many non-profit and federal options. Use our Resource Locator Tool to find other programs that help pay for or reduce the cost of care. There are also programs that help veterans with assisted living and there are eldercare loans available in Virginia.
Given the large variance Virginia sees in the hourly cost of home care or the monthly cost of assisted living, one of the best ways to manage the cost of care is to find affordable care. To help families do so, we've partnered with several organizations that provide free services that match an individual's specific care needs with care providers in their preferred geographic area. Click here to find affordable care.